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Posted: 1:49 p.m. Monday, May 12, 2014

PETA gets Porsche to drop use of tigers  

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porsche photo
The Macan is Porsche's newest SUV, following its Cayenne brand. The new SUV’s name is derived from the Indonesian word for tiger. The vehicle is built in Leipzig, in Saxony, Germany. (PORSCHE CARS NORTH AMERICA

By Christopher Seward

Atlanta-based Porsche Cars North America has urged dealerships to ditch plans to use tiger cubs in promotions for its new Porsche Macan SUV after the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals complained.

“I had plans to have a 500 pound tiger in attendance, not baby tiger cubs,” Mark Venti, general manager at Hennessy Porsche North Atlanta, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday. He was referring to sales launch events planned this week for the luxury crossover SUV. “Due to the concerns brought up by PETA and Porsche Headquarters we have decided to abandon those plans,” Venti said in an email

Jim Ellis Porsche Atlanta, the other independent metro Porsche dealership, said it had no plans to use the animal. Macan is the Indonesian name for tiger.

PETA said it recently contacted Porsche to complain that a Tampa dealership was using 3-week-old cubs in promotions for the new SUV. The group said cubs that were “schlepped around” for photo opportunities at such a young age can experience stress and neglect and often become sick and malnourished.

"Within one business day, we heard back from Porsche’s vice president for marketing, who assured us that Porsche shares our concerns when it comes to the ethical treatment of any animal, large or small, wild or domesticated,” PETA reported.

Andre Oosthuizen, Porsche Cars North America’s vice president of marketing, said the German automaker "will personally make contact with every Porsche dealer to reinforce our appeal that no animals whatsoever be used in any dealer activity."

The luxury crossover Macan, which starts at $50,895, has been available in Europe and the Middle East since April and goes on sale Friday in metro Atlanta. Porsche said it sold 2,000 Macans in its first month.

The vehicle is built in Leipzig, in Saxony, Germany.

About Christopher Seward

Christopher Seward is a South Carolina native and Atlanta journalist who has worked at the AJC since 1989.

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